Brazen criminals looted all manner of equipment and vandalised infrastructure at the City of Cape Town’s Retreat Library on Sunday evening, making off with items to the value of R62,000.
As a result, the City has decided to close the library until further notice.
In a statement, mayoral committee member for community services and health Zahid Badroodien detailed how equipment and infrastructure inside the library was either taken or damaged.
He said criminals were able to enter the library, “despite four layers of security”.
“Thieves vandalised cupboards in an attempt to gain access.
“They tried to take the safe, but must have realised that it was too heavy. Random keys found in the library were thrown on the floor, indicating an attempt to locate the safe,” said Badroodien.
What’s more, network and security cables from the SmartCape computers were removed.
“An attempt to remove the aluminium from the door frame of a small meeting room did not succeed, but damage was caused to the door frame.
“The thieves took four new mini SmartCape computers which had been locked in a cage, an additional four computers and a monitor, as well as a SmartCape monitor and printer, collectively worth more than R62 000,” added Badroodien.
Badroodien revealed that, to date, there had been 58 insurance claims for incidents at 30 City libraries – totaling in the region of R578,000, which takes the City’s claims to close to a million rand.
Western Cape police have opened a housebreaking and theft case for investigation. No one has been arrested yet, according to provincial spokesperson Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana.
“Our libraries are also essential facilities for matric pupils who require space to study and access educational material.
“The impact and implications for those people depending on the facility for information and a place to study is far-reaching and goes way beyond the damage caused at the vandalised facility and the stolen equipment,” said Badroodien.